European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Energy Union, participated in the EP plenary session, in the presence of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC. It was there where he presented his strategy for the EU Energy Union. (EC Audiovisual Services, 27/02/2015)

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Energy Union, participated in the EP plenary session, in the presence of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC. It was there where he presented his strategy for the EU Energy Union. (EC Audiovisual Services, 25/02/2015)

The European Commission (EC) official convened in Brussels two days ago to discuss and decide about the crucial matter of the European Energy Union. The strategy of the implementation of this Union was presented and according to Maros Šefčovič, vice-president of the EC, would be “the biggest energy project since the Coal and Steel Community”.

However, even if this sounds very promising, it has been under discussions for over a decade now. It is very difficult, not to say impossible, to coordinate and create such a Union if there is no cooperation from all the EU member states.

The Ukranian crisis has forced the EU to search for alternative solutions regarding energy sources. Is it in the EU’s intentions to cause further economic problems to Russia by not relying to the latter’s energy sources or is it just one of the five priorities that Jean-Claude Juncker set when became president of the EC? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. But the main issue that needs to be addressed here is the reason that the EU rely so much on energy imports and doesn’t increase its primary production.

Energy Union package

The officials of the EC were very delighted and eager to announce the decision of a strategic framework for the Energy Union. The second priority in Juncker’s plan seems that is starting to materialise just now. More specifically, Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission President, had said: “For too long, energy has been exempt from the fundamental freedoms of our Union. Current events show the stakes – as many Europeans fear they may not have the energy needed to heat their homes. This is about Europe acting together, for the long term. I want the energy that underpins our economy to be resilient, reliable, secure and growingly renewable and sustainable.”

What is more, Maroš Šefčovič, Commission’s Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union mentioned that: “this project will integrate our 28 European energy markets into one Energy Union, make Europe less energy dependent and give the predictability that investors so badly need to create jobs and growth.” Thus it is clear that Juncker’s Commission is more than determined to make this Union happen as soon as possible in order to ameliorate Europe’s position in the Energy arena.

Difficulties of Union’s integration

The good will of the EC to create an Energy Union may be though undermined by some national governments which will oppose to such unification. Countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, and the Baltic states which fully depend on Russian supplies are most likely not going to support this project. Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister, has already made his intentions clear that will not let the EC “play” with the country’s energy policy. Russia is surely going to pressure governments to put obstacles in the formation of this Union in order to keep its interests (through the Russian energy giant Gazprom) in the European market. Furthermore, the fact that there are German energy firms which have signed “big” contracts with Gazprom should also be taken into consideration.

Nevertheless, the EC seems determined to fight the lobbies, which may be created by large corporations or countries, in order to bring a more secure and competitive energy which will be distributed within the bloc according to its member states’ needs and to be mainly supplied by Russia.

Increase domestic energy production

Europe, apart from the creation of the Energy Union, should also focus on the increase of the production of its primary energy. This lies on the fact that even if this Union is created we will still have to import, maybe not from Russia but some other non-EU country, substantial quantities of energy (e.g. Azerbaijan etc). The solution to the whole energy issue is a combination of these two pillars: Energy Union and increase of domestic energy production.

Nevertheless, the data that Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has published regarding EU’s total primary energy production for the decade between 2002 and 2012 are not promising, showing a substantial decrease of 15.7%. The main reasons behind this downfall may be attributed to the lack of raw materials and the fact that the production of limited natural resources is unprofitable. Whatever the reason, the point here is that Europe’s production is dropping and thus more imports are needed to cover the energy demands.

Thus, EU-28’s imports are equally experiencing an increase of 7% from 2002 to 2012 but are decreasing from the financial crisis of 2008 and on. The countries with the highest import share (in 2012 terms) are: Germany, Italy, France, Spain and UK. Even if the imports from another non-EU country have dropped by 9% since 2008, Europe depends on them by 53.4% of its total energy consumption.

Hence, the EU is mainly importing primary energy from few specific countries which makes the Old Continent to be highly energy dependent. Russia, Columbia and the United States provide the majority of solid fuels with Russia being the main supplier. Crude oil and natural gas are also mainly supplied by Russia which is followed by Norway.

Consequently, it is clear that the European Union is largely depending on Russia for energy imports which makes its detachment from it or low reliance on it as energy provider quite difficult if such action is required for the creation of the Energy Union. Nevertheless, an Energy Union is highly needed and Juncker’s Commission seems decided to cut red tape and bring all the members states together in this energy reform.

The European Union needs an energy single market yesterday and it is rather positive that the first step has been made at the beginning of 2015.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Cédric in India

Time is running out to protect Africa’s forests

1 in 5 deaths globally caused by fossil fuel pollution, a new study reveals

People are scared of artificial intelligence – here’s why we should embrace it instead

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

How India is solving its cooling challenge

New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing

Living in the mouth of the shark: we are all refugees

Colombia: Santos thanks the EU for its support to the peace process

UN leads bid for cheaper insulin, expanding access for diabetics worldwide

MEPs call on EU leaders to end MFF deadlock without giving in on rule of law

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Tackling the toxic norms that hold women back in Asia

Electric vehicles are half the market in Norway

On the euro but out of it?

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

How India can improve urban public health with lessons from COVID-19

Insecurity and violence turn Nigeria into a ‘pressure cooker’ that must be addressed, says UN rights expert

The next decade is critical for the climate. Here’s how the circular economy can help

Algeria must stop arbitrary expulsion of West African migrants in desert: UN migration rights expert

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

A jingoistic Spanish ‘war’ from the past

Mergers: Commission prohibits proposed merger between Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp

4 key steps towards a circular economy

This company helps women to become solar entrepreneurs

Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €127 million to boost EU’s largest ever humanitarian programme

5 charts that bust some myths about migration

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Nets’ account-to-account payment business by Mastercard, subject to conditions

Why the next 4 months are crucial to the future of the ocean

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

This Japanese experiment shows how easily coronavirus can spread – and what you can do about it

This is why AI has a gender problem

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

You will be eating replacement meats within 20 years. Here’s why

How supply chain transparency can help businesses make the right calls

MEPs debate EEAS report on disinformation activities related to COVID-19

Agreement reached on screening of foreign direct investment for EU security

State aid: Commission approves €431 million public support for cleaner transport in German cities

If this is Globalization 4.0, what were the other three?

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

These Dutch microgrid communities can supply 90% of their energy needs

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

UN Security Council calls for South Sudan leaders to speed up action on peace deal

Some Prevailing Arguments and Perceptions over the South China Sea Issue Are Simply Wrong

How the Irish people were robbed by banks, the Commission and their own government

“Cyber security is a shared responsibility: stop, think, connect”, a Sting Exclusive by EU Commissioner Gabriel

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change, UN chief says in Bangkok

The London City-EU connection holds despite of Brexit and the ban of LSE-Deutsche Börse merger

Colombia is a Latin American success story, but must pursue new reforms to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth

Amazon, a pair of shoes and my Data Privacy walks away

LUX prize will be awarded jointly by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy

Q and A on the draft digital copyright directive

Uganda’s Ebola preparedness ‘will go a long way’ says WHO chief

‘Vaccines are safe’ and save lives, UNICEF declares, launching new #VaccinesWork campaign

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s